Twenty one miles in length, Bermuda is a beautiful group of Islands located 600 miles east off the coast of North Carolina, USA. It has a year-round population of 65,000 (over a quarter of whom are expatriates) and this increases significantly during the long, hot summer tourist season when up to half a million visitors arrive. The Island time zone is four hours behind the UK, one hour ahead of East Coast Time. The climate in Bermuda is generally sub-tropical and frost-free, thanks to the Gulf Stream. The local currency is the Bermuda dollar, which is fixed at parity with the US dollar. Both are freely useable on the Island. There is a 6% payroll deduction and no income tax.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands are located in the Caribbean 60 miles east or half an hour’s flight from Puerto Rico, the regional hub, and adjacent to the US Virgin Islands. The principal Islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anageda and Jost Van Dyke and in total they cover 59 square miles. Tortola, the largest, is largely rolling hills and beaches with the highest point being Mount Sage, 1,780 feet above sea level. The climate is sub-tropical. As of the last census, the total population of the BVI was over 28,000 people of whom 23,000 live on Tortola. The BVI use the US dollar as its currency; above the exempt amount of US$10,000 there is an 8% rate of income tax.
Located 180 miles south of Florida, the Cayman Islands are made up of three Islands: Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman. These Islands comprise a land area of 100 square miles with Grand Cayman being the largest. The Cayman Islands are tempered by trade winds that maintain a consistently comfortable temperature in the 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Centigrade) range. The population is 58,000 with the majority of these people living in Grand Cayman. The local currency is the Cayman dollar, which is fixed at 1.2 US dollars; there is no income tax.
Naturally idyllic, Guernsey is situated in the English Channel, 75 miles from England and 30 miles off the French coast. It includes the Islands of Alderney, Herm and Sark. The airport operates a service linking Guernsey to the United Kingdom and continental Europe and there is a ferry service, which can take you to St Malo in France within the hour. Climate-wise, the weather is temperate with mild winters and enjoyable summers. The total population is 65,000 and its capital is St Peter Port. Accounting for 55% of Guernsey’s income, the Financial Services sector is the biggest employer on the Island. Its main areas of specialism include Trusts, Funds, Banking and Insurance.
Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands and has a population of 90,000. It is located 80 miles south of England and 15 miles west of the French coast, and is well served by air and ferry services, being within a convenient hour’s flight away from both London and Paris. The Island enjoys a balanced economy with a healthy balance of payments surplus and no external debt. This has facilitated maintenance of low rates of taxation (income tax is 20%, although lower rates apply to certain corporate and trusts). Additionally, there is no capital gains tax, estate duty, capital transfer tax or sales (VAT) tax.